Obama taps Furman for economic post

President Obama on Monday tapped Jason Furman to take over as the White House's top economic adviser.

Furman, if confirmed by the Senate, would replace Alan Krueger as the head of three-person Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), which is tasked with providing the White House with the hard economic data needed for policymaking.

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Furman has served as an assistant to the president for economic policy and as principal deputy director on the National Economic Council since Obama took office in 2009. He has worked on most of the major economic policies that have emerged from the Obama White House, including the stimulus bill.

"Over the last five years I’ve come to trust not only his head, but also his heart, because Jason never forgets who it is that we’re fighting for:  middle-class families, folks who are working hard to climb their way into the middle class, the next generation," Obama said.

"When the stakes are highest, there is no one I'd rather turn to for straightforward, unvarnished advice that helps me to do my job," Obama said at an event announcing Furman's appointment. 

"He understands all sides of an argument."

Furman, who will be the fourth person to lead the CEA since Obama took office, has been out front for the White House on issues such as the effects of the $80 billion sequester on economic growth. 

"I have worked closely with Jason for years, and there is no question that he is the right person for the job," said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. 

"Jason’s strong commitment to economic growth and job creation and his firm belief in the importance of pursuing policies to expand the middle class will make him an extraordinary leader of the Council."

Lew and the president urged the Senate to act quickly on the nomination.  

Krueger, who took the job in 2011, will head back to teach at Princeton University, where he is a tenured economics professor.

A group of economists from the American Enterprise Institute expressed support for the nomination. 

"Although we often disagree with the administration’s policies and differ with Jason on a number of issues, we respect him as a superb analytical economist," the 13 economists wrote in a blog post on Monday. 

"If the Senate confirms his nomination to be the president’s chief economic adviser, we are confident that he will serve the president and the nation with distinction."

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